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Posts by: Denver House of Prayer

Living in Supernatural Joy

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Hope2When was the last time you doubled over with a side splitting bout of laughter and cried tears of joy? Chances are, it wasn’t recently, and if you’re thinking about the state of the economy, geopolitics or world affairs, you won’t be any time soon either. But if you’ve been demonstrably joyful recently, then I’m certainly jealous. When my younger brother and I would have tickling fights ‘way back in the day,’ my joyful expression and rib wrenching laughter could result in such pain that I wanted it to stop because my rib cage would ache so badly. (He wasn’t merciful at the time.)

Friend, the truth is we need to laugh more often and not just for giggles’ sake because there’s both a spiritual and physical reason for doing so. There’s indeed a joy within us believers that can lie dormant if we’re not careful. Some of us have forgotten how to access it and unfortunately our face bears witness to this. It’s time to reconnect with what God’s word says about joy and experience it once more for ourselves. Some theologians have tried to split joy into three categories: natural joy (gladness, contentment, satisfaction or cheerfulness), moral joy (peace, serenity) and spiritual joy (joy of faith, rejoicing of hope). There are clearly different reasons for expressing joy but the bottom line is, we need to experience it more!

Biblical Premise

Whilst most of us are familiar with the scripture, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: But a broken spirit drieth the bones” (Prov 17:22-KJV), other translations perhaps offer a better understanding in the modern vernacular. For example, “A rejoicing heart doeth good to the body” (YLT), “A joyful heart worketh an excellent cure” (RHM) and “A cheerful heart makes a quick recovery” (Knox). Undoubtedly, joy has an impact on our physical condition, but how far exactly does its influence extend? Can it really help us make a ‘quick recovery’? Could the medicinal benefits of a joyful heart be literal and corroborated by both the scientific and medical community? What’s interesting is that medical science is now validating what the Bible says about joy with laughter as its primary expression. Not that the Bible needs any validation whatsoever, but the findings are interesting nonetheless and I’d like to share some of them with you. After all God sits in the heavens and laughs, so why shouldn’t you (Ps 2:4, Ps 37:13, Ps 59:8)?

Jeanne Segal (Ph.D.) an emotional intelligence expert, author and mental health guru who’s studied the power of laughter down the years has found many benefits as follows:

Physical Benefits

  1. Boosts Immunity
  2. Lowers stress hormones
  3. Decreases pain
  4. Relaxes your muscles, burns calories
  5. Prevents heart disease

Mental Health Benefits

  1. Adds joy and zest to life
  2. Eases anxiety and tension
  3. Relieves stress
  4. Improves mood and mental functioning
  5. Enhances resilience, improves self-esteem

Social Benefits

  1. Strengthens relationships
  2. Attracts others to us, reduces loneliness
  3. Enhances teamwork
  4. Helps defuse conflict
  5. Promotes group bonding

Other keen researchers at the University of Maryland have discovered even more amazing benefits of ‘the giggles’ (listed below):

  1. Blood flow: Researchers at the University of Maryland studied the effects on blood vessels when people were shown either comedies or dramas. After the screening, the blood vessels of the group who watched the comedy behaved normally — expanding and contracting easily. But the blood vessels in people who watched the drama tended to tense up, restricting blood flow.
  2. Immune response: “Increased stress is associated with decreased immune system response,” says Robert Provine, professor of psychology and neuroscience. Some studies have shown that the ability to use humor may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost the levels of immune cells, as well.
  3. Relaxation and sleep: The focus on the benefits of laughter really began with Norman Cousin’s memoir, Anatomy of an Illness. Cousins, who was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful spine condition, found that a diet of comedies, like Marx Brothers films and episodes of Candid Camera, helped him feel better. He said that ten minutes of laughter allowed him two hours of pain-free sleep.

Evidently joy has a profoundly beneficial impact on our physical bodies as the Bible attests and this hidden aspect of our soul condition goes largely undiagnosed in modern medicine. Some have called laughter the ‘voice of joy.’ If that’s true, we need to give more voice to it in our own lives by manifesting ‘the chuckles’ more frequently. This extensive scientific research reveals perhaps metaphorically that joy is seemingly the invisible or intangible ‘glue’ that keeps our physical body in a healthy state. Without experiencing joy regularly, we suffer needlessly and fail to take advantage of the numerous health benefits of laughter especially. It’s one thing to study ice cream but it’s another thing to taste it. Likewise it’s one thing to study joy and another to experience it. We need to experience joy on a continual basis and our lack thereof could be turning unbelievers away from us. The ungodly philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche candidly observed the general melancholic demeanor of the average Christian when he said, “The Christians would have to look ‘more saved’ if they hope to persuade me.” That’s something to chew on.

Union of Joy with our First Love

Remember the joyful euphoria you felt when you first got saved and knew you weren’t going to Hell? Remember the six-month honeymoon with the Lord when everything seemed to fall into your lap? This was no honeymoon, it was meant to last a lifetime. It’s a union of joy for life with our first love (Rev 2:4) and one that remains, not a brief fleeting romance all too easily forgotten. There is of course a joy to our accomplishments and joy that comes from our friends or family etc. but this is not the joy of which the Bible specifically speaks. Its’ context always surrounds our response to God’s Grace which is constant but the trouble is our focus can waver occasionally. This elusive ‘feeling’ of joy comes from our union with Christ because of our salvation; however, it can definitely wane if our focus shifts away from Christ because feelings follow action, not vice versa. If you put your mind on God (Isa 26:3) and thank Him for your many blessings, the ‘joy of the Lord’ will return swiftly! Yes, we have struggles, trials, temptations, persecutions, hardships and strife yet our joy should remain regardless. Our joy should abide within us despite these occurrences because the joy that Christ gave us is not dependent upon our circumstances but in spite of them (Jn 14:27). Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22), and not a ‘conditional’ feeling at the mercy of life’s circumstances which are subject to perpetual change.

The Empowerment of Joy

What many people fail to realize is that joy was granted to us as a form of empowerment to overcome afflictions, as the scripture states, “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost” (1 Thess 1:6). The plain hermeneutic of scripture reveals that we may experience joy regardless of our difficulties and this is a wonderful blessing if we get a hold of it! Joy also brings supernatural spiritual strength (Neh 8:10) to endure what may lie ahead. There’s no greater offence than to laugh in the face of our enemies and as far as we’re concerned, the devil is a whipped foe (Col 2:15). We need to laugh in his face more often as we’re the Triumphant Church, not a cowering one that seeks future victory because the victory is already in our possession! We have victory now as we’re seated in heavenly places in Christ (Eph 1:3, 20) but for some of us this needs to be transmitted to our face.

I cannot stress enough how much I want you to receive this message. The Lord’s been sharing with me recently the importance of holding onto my own joy and He corrected my general passivity or apathy toward retaining it, which was certainly not helping my life. I gave it away all too easily. Consequently I was harboring a wrong attitude, thinking if all my circumstances lined up just as I wanted, then and only then, would I feel joyful. This, my friend is ‘stinking thinking‘ and is not biblical. The joy of the Lord is accessible 24/7 whenever we focus on Christ via His word, praise, worship or giving thanks unto Him. It’s a matter of perspective and we choose our perspective each and every day. We choose daily whether we’re going to magnify God (Acts 10:46) or magnify the problems around us. A cursory scriptural exegesis of the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John reveals six core characteristics of the Christian life, with joy mentioned firstly along with holiness, truth, mission, unity and love (Jn 17:13-26). Joy is a trait highly esteemed by the Lord and we should guard it well for our own benediction because it’s one of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit that can sustain us, especially during difficult times.

Joy is a gift that’s already been given to us and it’s our choice whether to give it away or not. Jesus said we’re not to ‘let’ our heart be troubled nor ‘let’ it be afraid (Jn 14:27). If our heart condition is fearful, it’s because we’ve not stewarded it correctly, as all the issues of life originate from our heart (Prov 4:23). There’s a resident joy and peace that accompanies our relationship with God the Father, His son Jesus Christ and the precious Holy Spirit. When we shift our focus or fellowship away from the Godhead, we become susceptible to losing our joy. I challenge you right now to search your own heart and let the ‘joy of the Lord’ come forth because it’s one of the many blessings of being in Christ Jesus. Unfortunately, many of us have unknowingly or carelessly let it go. We don’t want to let such an awesome gift go to waste because the Lord meant joy for our well-being and the Bible is replete with the topic. Seek the Lord today about possible ‘joy stealers’ in your life like unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, anger, selfishness, anxiety, and so forth. If you feel convicted about this teaching, ask Him to reveal to you where you’ve missed it.

We need to clear the log jam that’s preventing the ‘joy of the Lord’ from bubbling up within our hearts! Ask Him to reveal areas where your joy has been compromised or stolen and enter therein my friend to the deepest and most joyful of giggles! It’s time to release those feel good endorphins and enter into the ‘joy of the Lord’ once more!

Bibliography:

  1. Harrison, Bromiley & Henry, Wycliffe Dictionary of Theology (Hendrickson’s Publishers, Inc. Peabody, MA, 1999), 299.
  2. http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm
  3. http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter?page=2

 

 

Pastor-Carl Senior Pastor Carl Joseph desires to see God move in power in the downtown Denver area. He is joined in the ministry by his wife, Amy. In his spare time, he rides his motorcycle and plays golf.

 

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The Son of Man

Do you have six minutes to hear about how Jesus put aside His majesty as King and came to earth for fallen humanity, as a Spirit-led man?

Jesus set an example for us to move in the power of the Holy Spirit as an anointed man, and did not perform miracles simply because he was God, but provided a template for others to follow Him as joint-heirs in His kingdom.

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Healing Series – Session 1

In session 1, we provide an introduction to the Healing series by sharing the cause of sickness, God’s take on illness and who He is, and start reviewing some of the Old and New Testament examples of healing in the bible and even examine record of healings in early church history.

Here’s a snippet from the discussion:

“Does God use sickness to chasten His children? Let’s look at Hebrews 12:4-7.”

Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

Our understanding of whether or not God uses sickness to chasten, depends entirely upon the meaning of the word chasten in the context of this passage. It is correction not punishment. God does not use terminal disease to chasten his people, death is a curse.”

– Pastor Carl

 

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How do I define “Hope”?

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Hope2What does the word “hope” mean to you? Most people think of it to mean “wishful thinking.” We use this word so casually, without thinking much about it. “I hope it doesn’t rain on Saturday”; “I hope I get a raise soon”; “I hope the Broncos make it to the playoffs.”
When we use this short, yet powerful word in this way, it dilutes its true meaning. I’m not suggesting we eliminate this particular usage, but I would like us to consider the deeper meaning of it: how God views it. As I was reflecting on God’s perspective on hope, I found something in God’s Word that stood out to me. In Psalms 42:5 and 42:11 and 43:5 the wording was almost identical.
 

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.

I really started to think about how important God deems hope when our souls are in turmoil and everything seems to be caving in around us. Have you ever been there? Or maybe you’re there now. In the midst of our storms, when things are tumultuous, we are to put our hope in God, and praise Him. As our soul longs for His face to shine upon us, we are to praise Him. Praise Him? How can I praise God when I’m going through this? I can barely make it through the day, so how am I to praise God? Maybe you can relate to what Job says:

“What strength do I have, that I should still hope?
What prospects, that I should be patient?”
– (Job 6:11)

 

Desperate for God

There was a time in my life that I found myself desperate for God. My soul wasn’t just disquieted in me, it was screaming. God desired to bring healing to my heart for the years of abuse I endured growing up. Could I trust God to walk with me through the healing process? Could I put my hope in God and have faith that He was bringing wholeness to my heart? Even when I heard voices of doubt, I knew deep down that I still had hope. I knew I couldn’t put my hope in earthly things, but I trusted and put my full hope in Jehovah-Rapha, God my healer. With that seed of hope, and as I watered and cared for it with praise, my faith was strengthened. In worship and adoration I believed God’s Word:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
– Jeremiah 29:11

 

Worship the Creator

Worship and praise Him in song, in written and spoken words, in art, or just be still. It touches God’s heart when His children put their hope in Him and come to a place where they completely and totally surrender to Him.

So if this is a season of storms in your life right now, I want to encourage you to put your hope in God and praise Him.

 

Laurel Laurel Block is a native of Alaska but moved to Colorado in 1990. She brings a message of life and hope through God’s healing and redemptive work in her life to women’s groups, church congregations, and to those in youth detention centers.

Session 4 – The Divine Exchange

In session 4, we discuss the third, fourth and fifth exchanges Jesus won on the cross: 3. Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness that we might be made righteousness with His righteousness, 4. Jesus died our death that we might share His life, and 5.Jesus was made a curse that we might receive the blessing.

Here’s a snippet from the discussion:

‘No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.’ – Isaiah 54:17

Whose tongue are we rising up against? That is the tongue of the accuser. We are to draw his attention to 1st John 1:9 and get in his face and say CASE CLOSED, the court already adjourned! My sins are covered under the blood and Jesus’ blood is more than enough for any sin: past, present or future. Remember that it is not your righteousness that is being challenged by Satan; he is challenging the righteousness of God himself. Why? Because you are joined to Christ in the Spirit realm, as his body, you are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. In other words, accusing you is as good accusing Jesus himself! Oh dear, that isn’t a good idea! From this point forward, I never want you to identify yourself with sin. Your identity is in Christ Jesus. God the Father looks at you as He would His only begotten Son. Your spirit man is spotless, blameless and sinless, Hallelujah!”

– Pastor Carl

 

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Session 2 – The Divine Exchange

We explored during session 2 the first 2 exchanges covered by Christ: 1. Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven and 2. Jesus was wounded that we might be healed.

Here’s a snippet from the discussion:

“In a nutshell “all the evil that was due to come to us, by justice, came on Jesus at the cross, so that all the good due to Jesus, earned by his sinless disobedience, might be made available to us.

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” – Ephesians 1:7 King James Version (KJV)

We have forgiveness, we have redemption to redeem means to ‘buy back’ or to ransom. Who have we been bought back from ? Satan! The bible says death reigned in humanity until Moses….”

– Pastor Carl

 

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Session 1 – The Divine Exchange

We discussed the foundation of the Divine Exchange and introduced the topic to attendees.

Here’s a snippet from the discussion:

“A deeper understanding of the incredible “Divine Exchange” will reap a huge reward in your life because as your knowledge increases, you will identify yourself with Christ instead of your sinful nature. How do we spell Cross? V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!!”

– Pastor Carl

 

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A Battle with Chron’s Disease: Complete Healing

Around a year ago, DHOP came into contact with a man by the name of Jeremiah that was experiencing an attack in his flesh by the name of Chron’s disease. Through prayer and the laying on of hands, standing on 2 Peter 2:24, Jeremiah is now free and completely restored in his body.

This is Jeremiah’s story and testimony, and we praise God for performing in accordance with His word.

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Session 8 – Moving in Christ’s Authority

Pastor Carl wraps up DHOP’s series Moving in Christ’s Authority.

 

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The Power of Peace

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Peace2Friends, I want to tell you right now that without doubt the foremost condition of every Christian at all times should be peace. This peace is independent of circumstances. I can hear you say, “Wait a minute pastor, life has its demands and pressures; we can’t be in peace all the time?” Yes, my friend, we can because it supernaturally abides within us. Peace is a gift that Christ gave us and peace is also our umpire in decision making. The Apostle Paul wrote about this issue to the church at Colossae. This supernatural peace should rule and reign inside us.

 

15 And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts (deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state) to which as (members of Christ’s) one body you were also called (to live). And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]” – Colossians 3:15 (AMP).

We should not however confuse this peace with a fleeting emotion that comes and goes; it is an abiding peace because it is not only a fruit of the Holy Spirit but an attribute of the Kingdom of God. In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul defines the kingdom of God and its attributes, “17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.“ – Romans 14:17.

 

Righteousness and Joy

Think of righteousness and joy as bookends with peace slotted in the middle. As we attain righteousness with God as a function of our salvation, we are then able to receive ‘abiding peace’ within our hearts and from that peace, joy bubbles forth. Our peace is despite the circumstances. It is not contingent upon outcomes because it’s a supernatural influence that comes from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. I had recently gotten into the ‘molly grubs”, even though things seemed to be working out for good in my life, I had a heavy heart. I seemed to be in “endurance mode”, rather than appreciating the joy of life in the day to day. I had lost peace, and it was my fault, why? Because Jesus had already given peace to me, “27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” – (John 14:27).

 
Notice the onus is on us to steward the peace that Jesus bestowed; we are the ones who have the choice to let ourselves be ‘troubled’ or ‘afraid’. My old mentor, Ann Vincent would always say to me “If you’ve lost your peace, you’ve messed up somewhere”. She was a powerful woman of God who moved in a strong anointing that seemingly never waned. Her secret? Peace. She oozed peace every time I was with her. Ann demonstrated abundant peace in her life and she is a great example to us all. She also moved in the power of God. Peace and power go hand in hand; they are twins. If we get out of peace, we get into the ‘flesh’ and we lose faith in God’s power because faith works by love (Gal 5:6). Did you know that Jesus commanded the disciples to bring peace to the houses they visited? The presence of God brings peace and the disciples were paragons of peace, distributing it wherever they went, the scripture makes it clear, “And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you” – Matthew 10:13.

 

Anxiety: Abstract Fear or Apprehension

The Holy Spirit revealed to me that as time had passed, I had allowed anxiety to creep in. Anxiety is an interesting word because by definition it’s an abnormal feeling of fear or apprehension but not necessarily tied to anything specific. It can be hard to fight against because it’s a more generic ongoing condition that is felt. The problem is if we meditate on this feeling of dread or fear concerning the future we may start believing that something ‘bad’ is going to happen. The very fact that you meditate on this over and over could cause it to become a reality in your life. Living in regret or worrying about the future will always rob us from the ‘now’. What time is it? The time is ‘now’. The time is always now. “Now faith is” (Hebrews 11:1). Replaying the sorrows of yesterday and dreading what’s to come; will put you in a place of misery and misery my friend is not a place where Christians should be. Misery and fear have torment; that is Satan’s territory, get out of it immediately.

 
There is a fascinating statement that Christ made in Matthew 6:31, “31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” Did you catch that? Jesus said you take a thought…by saying it. Once you start verbalizing what is in your mind, you are ‘taking the thought’. Not every thought is from the devil of course, we rationalize in our minds daily as we muse over decisions, but it is the penetrating or interjecting thought that is either from God or Satan. The easiest way to discern the thought’s origin is to compare it to the word of God. If it’s accusatory in nature or discouraging it’s not from God. Guard your mind! Satan is not in the encouragement business (1st Peter 5:8). So what do we do to restore peace? Firstly, we must cast our care, “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully” – 1st Peter 5:7 (AMP). We need to get into the habit of saying, “I couldn’t care less, God is taking care of everything in my life and He is trustworthy!” Let go of your anxiety, cast your care, pray and thank Him for the answer, it’s that simple. This scripture sums it all up…“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” – Philippians 4:6 (NASB).

 
Friends, it’s time to get your peace back! What are you waiting for? Spend time with the Holy Spirit today and take back what the enemy has stolen. Peace is not something to look for, it’s always inside of you, it’s time to reconnect with the tranquility in your heart (that Christ won for you), cast your care and feel the peace of the Lord once again!

 

Pastor-Carl Senior Pastor Carl Joseph desires to see God move in power in the downtown Denver area. He is joined in the ministry by his wife, Amy. In his spare time, he rides his motorcycle and plays golf.